Grilled Chile Mango Shrimp Tacos/Tocayo Brewing Co. Hominy White Ale/Duel “Witchbanger”
One of our most despised food items is fruit salsa; sorry but in our world onions just don’t belong in the same bowl with mangoes and pineapples just like cheddar cheese doesn’t belong anywhere near our apple pie, but that’s an argument for another time. So you may be thinking to yourself, “why then is there a recipe for chile mango shrimp?” A fair question, but in this recipe we eschew that chunky desecration of the word “salsa” to pick up the subtle tropical fruit flavor in a marinade that combines mango nectar, hot chile powder and garlic. The shrimp gets grilled over high heat and served street taco-style on mini scorched corn tortillas garnished with a creamy lettuce slaw that gets a hit of the mango nectar as well. A slice of avocado and a line of sriracha are the only other accompaniments these little guys needed. For the beer, we went semi-traditional with the Belgian/Mexican fusion beer from Tocayo Brewing Co; their Hominy White Ale drinks like a crisp Belgian ale but is brewed with the classic Mexican hominy. On the stereo, an album we haven’t stopped spinning since its release a month or so ago. Duel’s “Witchbanger” is an absolute lock for an album of the year contender, we had it cranked up loud to pair up with this summery BBQ.
Grilled Chile Mango Shrimp Tacos – Fear not, these simple tacos are just as easy to make as they look. We start by marinating the shrimp in a paste made by slurring together chile powder, garlic and mango nectar. Thoroughly cover the shrimp in the marinade and refrigerate for a couple of hours then toss them on to a grill pan over high heat on the grill. Transfer the reserved marinade to a small saucepan and bring to boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
The shrimp just need a few minutes to cook through and get a little char.
Next up we work on the slaw which we quickly make by shredding the crunchy white part of romaine lettuce and toss with a dressing made with 1/2 cup mayo, a couple tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, a squeeze of honey and a splash of mango nectar. A small handful of the slaw goes down on a couple of slightly charred mini corn tortillas.
The grilled shrimp gets a quick toss in the warmed sauce then gets placed on top of the slaw.
A small slice of avocado, a drizzle of sriracha and a cold beer is all that’s needed to complete this casual, street taco fare.
Tocayo Brewing Co. Hominy White Ale – We came across this beer for the first time and thought immediately “Well, this would be perfect for our shrimp tacos!”. A quick look at the can revealed it was brewed in Warrenville up west a bit, even better we thought. When we got to researching it a bit more at home, come to find out it is actually yet another macrobrewery (this time Constellation Brands) disguising themselves as a microbrewery using the name Tocayo Brewing Co. and using local brewers Two Brothers to contract brew this stuff. Add on that celebrity chef Rick Bayless “collaborated” to make this beer and the whole thing just reeks of the big business corporate wolf disguising themselves in the local brewery’s sheep clothing. We have nothing against the macrobreweries honestly, but this game of microbrewery charades they play is getting a little old. Ok, we’re off our soap box and ready to drink some beer, which was actually really good in this case. The beer poured a cloudy orange with a head that resembled sponge cake. The aroma was herbal and a bit spicy with a Belgian yeast finish on the nose. Flavor-wise, this beer is a Wit through and through with little hominy detected. It was light and cleansing with a banana-like sweetness that went great with the tacos.
Duel “Witchbanger” – When we said we couldn’t get this new release from Texas’ Duel off our stereo, we weren’t kidding. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by since its release where it hasn’t at least gotten one spin. With a sound that grooves like Clutch, is heavy as Motorhead and as catchy as early Pentagram, there’s a not a bad song in their catalog. Their latest “Witchbanger” is an instant classic kicking off with the rocker “Devil”. It’s definitely the pace setter for the album with its lightning fast riffage that recalls Judas Priest at their finest, toss in some dark and doomy vocals and you’ve got an album that is starting off perfectly. The title track is pure groove biker metal (along the lines of Orange Goblin) and super catchy. “The Sake Queen” is a mid-tempo rocker that features vocals that sound like a more melodic Lemmy. As great as the opening trio of songs are, the album really hits its stride on the next four songs beginning with “Astro Gypsy” which is all Sabbath in its delivery and tone to start off before kicking into a ZZ Top-esque riff resulting in a “Never Say Die/Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings” mash-up that absolutely slams. Speaking of Sabbath, “Heart of the Sun” begins with a “Children of the Grave” riff demanding the tune to be turned up loud, the song also has that classic rock/Swedish stoner rock swagger of Graveyard. “Bed of Nails” mixes up the early 80s metal of Dio and Grim Reaper with the catchier stoner rock of today like Red Fang and Mastodon. The album’s best song is “Cat’s Eye”. It’s a doom metal masterpiece perfectly mixing in killer vocals with a great riff and groove, all while being a being a pretty dark tune. The closing track is “Tigers and Rainbows” and it’s a 6+ minute bluesy scorcher that also dabbles in garage rock era psychedelia. We can’t say enough about this album, it’s a must have to any collection that as mentioned will be there at the end of the year on many album of the year lists.